LOGAN SQUARE — Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) told some of his new Logan Square residents he fears Brentano Elementary could become a "sacrificial lamb" in the citywide school closure fight.
"I get the feeling that it has been saved," he told some of his new constituents at a community meeting Monday night. "But they've got so many [schools on the closure list] on the South Side and so many on the West Side, they may need a sacrificial lamb on the North Side."
The alderman, whose new ward boundaries include the endangered school, has been vocal in his support for it and all the other CPS schools on the chopping block.
So on Tuesday the alderman traveled to Springfield to talk to lawmakers in hopes the state would intervene and perhaps even halt the school closings.
Since the Legislature voted in November to extend the original closure deadline by four months, the aldermen hoped would consider taking another vote to stop the closings all together.
Waguespack could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but his chief of staff, Paul Sajovec, said the alderman would talk to "anyone he can ... to tell them that there should be either a moratorium on additional closings, and just try to make a case that [school closings are] not a good idea."
Among the concerns is that the extended deadline has made it nearly impossible for communities to fight back and protest the final list of school closures.
"So the idea is if [state lawmakers] could extend the deadline, then they could also potentially decide that it might not be a good idea to move forward with closures given the short amount of time it will give people to prepare," he said.
Sajowec points to two schools in Waguespack's district that were listed for closure in the past, but public outcry was so intense the schools were eventually pulled of the list. If there were protests now, he and Waguespack are worried CPS could argue there's not enough time to make new arrangements for the students.
And CPS has indicated it may ask for more time.
"They're trying to narrow down when the list is out there and when it's too late to do anything about it," Sajovec said.